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Chase the Express
"The game's storyline played out rather well and contained some nice twists and turns. most of which you can see coming from a mile away."
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Developer  Sugar & Rockets Game Type  Strategy
Distributor  Sony Review Date  Sep 00
 
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Playability:
 
      Playing this game couldn't be simpler to get started. Since it is a one-player game, you really only have two options, New Game and Load Game. In the new game you choose the difficulty of your opponents. You designate yourself as Rookie, Normal and Expert (if you dare!). If you are new to this genre, do yourself a favor and pick Rookie.

Chase the Express contains many video clips that progress the storyline and can be bypassed by pressing the start button. For first time players you will want to let them play out, because the story is set and your mission, etc. is laid out for you. This game happens entirely on a moving train and is primarily mission based. You have to use your weapons and other items you find to complete your tasks.

The beginning mission is to rescue the Ambassador and his family from terrorists who have commandeered the train. You will encounter these terrorists in your travels and have to kill them before they kill you.

A very important thing to remember is this is not Quake or a Rambo movie, your ammunition is sparse and limited. You can pick more up as you go along off of the freshly killed bodies of your enemies and you will also find some scattered about, but quantities are not unlimited, so be very conservative with your shots or you'll end up being defenseless and most likely killed if you run out of ammo. Your character is initially armed with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and one clip of ammo. You'll encounter terrorists as soon as you head for the hatch to get into the train, so aim carefully.

To know if you are going to have a hit on your target, a round target flashes up when you have a good shot on you're opponent. You may have to move left or right to line up properly. The closer you are the more deadly the shot -- it takes two or more shots from long distance to kill.

Although you have the option to choose an analog mode, the thumbsticks on the dual shock pad are not utilized; you have to use the directional arrows. You will however get vibrating feedback from your joypad in this mode.

As I mentioned earlier the gameplay is often impaired by the sloppy camera angles used in many sections of the game. The developers seem to have tried to create the impression that all of the action is being viewed through stationary security cameras - something which sounds like a fantastic idea in principal, but fails miserably due to its actual implementation within the game. As with most ideas, the simple ones work best and if they has merely kept the camera behind your character at all times the game would have been far more enjoyable to play. Unfortunately the confusion they create means that you often press the wrong directional button at crucial times, or have little idea when the enemy can see you, or where they are firing from.

One decent feature is the ability to scan the room for items to pick up. By pressing the triangle button and using the directional keys, you can move the camera around to scan around where your character is for items you may have missed.

The key to this game is to find the right items that can help your cause. You will find scraps of paper with important info, key cards, magazines and first aid kits to name a few. Many items glimmer at you so you know to try to pick them up, and as with all games of this type, its worth searching every area thoroughly for clues.

Saving the progress of your game can be tricky as you can't just save at any point in the game. There are certain areas throughout the train that have "boxes" that you can place some of your objects, ala Resident Evil. In this area, usually in one of the public restrooms (how romantic), is where you find the save point as well.

The game is rather short, with experts being able to burn through it in 5 hours of less, but the developers have tried to add replay value by including several additional characters that can only be unlocked after completing the game.

Game Options:
 
• Number of Disks: 2
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 1
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
• Other accessories: None
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: No
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes

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Staff Opinions
Tom D   "This is a good game on the merits of the story line and the logical thought process needed to progress through many of the scenarios. It was let down by very sloppy camera angles and the not-so-hot graphics which often made finding crucial items very difficult.

At times it can be quite juvenile and makes for a solitary gaming experience due to the lack of any real interaction with other characters, but to be fair, it did give a real sense of accomplishment when each phase was completed.

While Chase the Express definitely won't set any new benchmarks in this genre, it is nonetheless a decent game that will keep you occupied for several days."
Graphics  15/20
Playability  40/50
Sound  7/10
Lastability  17/20
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. 79% .
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Staff Opinions
Tom R   "Chase the Express was both a pleasant surprise and a bit of a let down for me.

I wasn't expecting an MGS style game to hit the streets at this point in time and was happy to find this little diversion to get into. The game's storyline played out rather well and contained some nice twists and turns.most of which you can see coming from a mile away.

The tension that is generated from the confined railroad cars is considerable but almost ruined by the somewhat sloppy camera angles. I did however really ike the overall premise of the title and thought the missions were laid out nicely, even though they were pretty easy to complete.

The graphics were adequate with good character models and animation but fell into the "grainy" side as far as overall display is concerned.

This was a nice first shot into this genre by Activision and overall I enjoyed playing through it. The little side games that are included broke up the monotony of being inside the train and are a welcome addition but overall I couldn't help but feel that something was missing to complete the title. "
Graphics  14/20
Playability  41/50
Sound  7/10
Lastability  15/20
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. 77% .
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